A Free-Market Energy Blog

Libertarian Party: Economic Freedom, Energy, and the Environment (Romney/Ryan, are you listening?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 25, 2012

“While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.”

– Libertarian Party Platform (2012)

While Romney/Ryan haven taken a lead in many polls over Obama/Biden, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is polling well ahead of Green Party candidate Jill Stein for third place. If you add the Libertarians to the Republicans, the majority widens against the Democrats and Greens. Greater economic and energy freedom anyone?

Today’s post examines the Libertarian Party platform on economic liberty, energy, and the environment. Next week, the Green Party’s Green New Deal will be studied.

The LP platform begins with this statement on economic liberty:

Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.

And then speaks to property and contract rights:

Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others. We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates. We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services.

We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.

Regarding environmental policy:

We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection.

Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.

On energy, the LP is short and sweet:

While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.

Gary Johnson will be on the ballot in 48 states, three more than his Green Party opponent. A recent NPR report wondered if either third party candidate could tip the election. It concludes:

Right now, this race is looking much like 2000, the nail-biter of a contest that went down to the wire — and way beyond, the piece concludes. “And where [Ralph] Nader — with just 1 percent of the vote in Florida — made history.

Vote count aside, the LP platform and Gary Johnson have articulate positions that may lead the Republican Party if real economic reform is embraced by the supposed party of limited government. The face that many more highly principled, ‘radical’ Americans favor libertarianism than green statism is a good sign for the (still) land of the free.


  1. Jon Boone  

    The specter of Nader should haunt any discerning voter this November.


  2. Eddie Devere  

    The libertarian party platform has it nearly 100% right.

    The main question for libertarians like myself is whether to vote for Gary Johnson, who shares nearly all of my economic/political/ethical/religious views, or to vote for Romney/Ryan, who share perhaps a half or less of my economic/political/ethical/religious views.

    Virtually, the only thing that Obama has done to help the cause of liberty was to eliminate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Almost everything else he has done has been some form of violation of personal liberty to help special, not general, interests.
    My plan for voting is to check out the polling in my state the week before the election. If the polls suggest the vote in the state is close (i.e. Obama ahead by less than 7%), then I’ll vote for R/R. If Obama’s ahead by more than 7%, I’ll vote for GJ.


  3. rbradley  


    A lot of libertarians are thinking as you are. An Obama reelection might create such a strong government bias and welfare culture that our democracy will no longer be able to reverse to limited government.

    Another question is whether a pro-Obama person is also thinking the way you are, say in Oregon. I believe I read that Johnson was attracting as many from the ‘Left’ as from the “Right.”


  4. Robert Bradley: The Geen Road to Serfdom | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)  

    […] week, the energy view of Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson was reviewed at MasterResource. The wish was that the Republican ticket of Romney/Ryan would take to heart the […]


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